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San Francisco Giants Spring Training: Making Sense of the Latest Cuts

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Mac Williamson #51 of the San Francisco Giants is greeted in the dugout after a solo home run in the eighth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Mac Williamson #51 of the San Francisco Giants is greeted in the dugout after a solo home run in the eighth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Giants latest round of roster cuts has left some people confused and outraged. So, as always, we have all the answers. So let us level with you.

During and after the San Francisco Giants spring training game against the Cleveland Indians today, many people were reacting to the Giants latest round of cuts. Those moves are as follows:

Optioned: Tyler Beede, Roberto Gomez, Derek Law, Austin Slater, and Mac Williamson.

Re-Assigned: Andrew Suarez, Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Trevor Brown, Justin O’Conner, Hector Sanchez, Orlando Calixte, Chase d’Arnaud, Kyle Jensen, and Chris Shaw.

Just as a reminder, options are only reserved for player who actually are on the 40-man roster. They have options that have to be used as they move between the majors and minors. Re-Assignment is reserved for players on minor-league deals, as they have no options.

The move here that has most people bent out of shape is the fact that Mac Williamson was optioned, while Jarrett Parker, Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Steven Duggar battle it out for the final two spots. Let’s take a look at Williamson’s stats this spring compared to the others:

  • Williamson: .318/.333/.727/1.061; 4HR, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 13 RBI; 1 BB, 13 SO
  • Gregor Blanco: .333/.419/.708/1.128; 2 doubles, 2 triples, 4 RBI; 4 BB 6 SO
  • Gorkys Hernandez: .278/.366/.444/.810;  HR, 3 2B, 3 RBI; 5 BB, 13 SO
  • Steven Duggar: .268/.362/.585/.947; 4HR, 1 double, 10 RBI; 6BB 13 SO
  • Jarrett Parker: .243/.364/.622/.985; 3HR, 3 doubles, 1 triple; 7BB 20 SO

The numbers clearly swing in Williamson’s favor, so why is he getting sent down? There are a couple things at play here. One of those things is options and ultimatums.

It’s become apparent it will be Blanco, Gorkys, Duggar, and Parker battling out for the final two outfield spots. If Blanco and/or Duggar, make the squad, who ever doesn’t make the squad (not named Duggar) is at risk of getting DFA’d. I don’t think the Giants are overtly impressed with Gorkys and Parker, but because of the decision that looms in a week and a half, in terms of whittling down the roster to 25 men, they need Parker and Gorkys to make the team. If they don’t they get DFA’d.

The Giants don’t want to have to do that, but if the way the competition shakes out falls in a certain way, they’re going to have too. At this point, I wouldn’t even be surprised if Blanco was guaranteed “in” the 25 man roster. He’s performed better than the others and deserves his spot. That means it’s actually three fighting for the last spot, and Duggar is the only one they can likely retain if he doesn’t make the squad. That’s significant.

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Parker is out of options, and so is Gorkys. One of them is likely getting DFA’d, and if they can’t beat out a guy who has less than 100 AB’s at the AAA level, then they frankly both deserve to go.

On the other hand, what does this mean for Mac? Mac still has a minor league option, so they don’t necessarily want to bring him up until they absolutely need him, or he forces his way. There is a decent chance Pence gets hurt, and a decent chance one of Gorkys or Parker struggles enough that they need to go, even if they make the big league roster to start. If Duggar doesn’t make the roster, then Mac is likely the first guy up when/if they need him.

With his new swing, it also benefits him to get consistent time. He has struggled as a pinch hitter in the big leagues, and he needs to get consistent at bats to be successful. He’s been successful when he does get that, so they’ll likely put him in a situation where he is most likely to succeed. Being a fifth outfielder and pinch hitter is not that situation, despite how well he’s been playing.

So what to watch for in the final week? That outfield battle. That’s about the only battle left, and it will be very interesting to see how it shakes out.

Next: Center Field Expectiations heading into the season

Other notes: With Beede and Suarez’s inclusion in the latest round of cuts, it’s pretty clear that Stratton and Blach have won the rotational spots. The biggest question with what’s to come going forward, is whether or not someone named Derek Holland can get a roster spot as well. He might be able to snag the long reliever role, as he’s pitched pretty well so far this spring.

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